According to a report published in Beverage Digest this past Friday, Coca-Cola
Although Coke officials did not confirm the story, they also didn't deny it. From my perspective, the move only makes sense. Coca-Cola has always looked for new products or innovative ways to enhance its existing products. For instance, in January 2007, it is expected to launch Enviga -- its new calorie-burning carbonated product -- and later intends to release H2Odwalla, an "enhanced water" product.
Sometimes these innovations don't work out, like the company's expansion into low-carb sodas (Diet Coke with Splenda was discontinued shortly after its release). Sometimes the results are only modest successes, as appears to be the case with the company's expansion into the adult beverage market with Coke Blak, which has so far had little impact on the company's bottom line.
Sometimes, however, its innovations are home runs. I can still recall with disdain the reaction of many Coca-Cola fans back in the early 1980s when the company first introduced Diet Coke. Similarly, I recall some analysts' skepticism when Coca-Cola expanded into the non-carbonated water and juice market -- a market that now accounts for 20% of the company's annual revenues.
This latest move into the "nutrient-enhanced" market seems to share more of the characteristics of the latter two innovations, in that it is focused more on improving people's health. For instance, Diet Coke addressed concerns with excessive calories, and the move into water corresponded with health experts suggesting that all of us needed to drink more H2O.
As aging baby boomers fret more about their health, and parents continue to express growing concern over whether their children are getting their daily recommended doses of all the essential vitamins, the timing of this move seems well placed. It is my personal opinion that if people believe they can meet some daily vitamin requirements by sipping their Diet Cokes, they will only be too happy to do so.
Of course, the biggest factor in determining whether Diet Coke Plus will be a winner is its taste. Assuming that it tastes good, Coca-Cola's push into the health market should be a healthy addition to the company's bottom line.
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